Digital has introduced a new contract between consumers and brands. It has made brands super aware of what they do; brands are behaving in a self-conscious way than before. Earlier brands had an upper hand in the relationship; dishing out messages as and when they liked as per their convenience. Digital has changed all that, now the relation has turned the other way, consumers are choosing what information they want to know, when it suits them.
When digital started it was believed that it’s just another channel for brands to communicate with their consumers, probably in a more personal way. But time has proved that it is not a channel but a way of thinking. Brands had to reinvent their thinking process to be in the consideration set. Digital has shifted the power to the consumers and made it a two way communication. Consumers can tell a brand when they are angry, frustrated, what they don’t like. A small mistake in some remote place can lead to a downfall of the brand immediately across the country or globe (eg. Cadbury, Maggie crises). The relation is ruthless, love and praise is showered sparsely, you can check any sites more and more customers write about grievance and hardly appreciate the good things. Like any relation consumers take good things for granted and with the slightest issue are willing to divorce their brand and move on to the next.
But like in any relation brands too have to stand their ground, they should listen to their consumers act on the good things to improve themselves but at the same time need to move on and find better consumers or upgrade them. Brands have to tickle the imagination of its consumers and make them want new and better products. It is up to the brand to sustain the relation by finding the right balance and do what they want to do. At the same time be aware that consumers are going to use technology to filter out, but if you keep solving their issues and keep them happy they will always come back to you.